ARIZONA FOOTBALL

Too many sacks concerns Stoops, Cats

Even speedier Scott went down five times
2010-10-19T00:00:00Z 2014-09-15T09:17:11Z Too many sacks concerns Stoops, CatsRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 19, 2010 12:00 am  • 

The Arizona Wildcats will debut a new starting quarterback when they take on Washington on Saturday.

Though, the way they have been blocking lately, it may not matter if Arizona starts Matt Scott, Bryson Beirne or Wilbur the Wildcat.

UA quarterbacks were sacked six times in Saturday's 24-7 win over Washington State. Through six games, Arizona has been sacked 17 times - four more than all of last season.

It's not all the offensive line's fault, coach Mike Stoops said Monday.

Quarterbacks Matt Scott and Nick Foles each held on to the ball too long against Washington State, resulting in a pair of sacks. A UA running back and a guard got beat on other plays, contributing to two more. The rest were a result of poor blocking, Stoops said.

"It's a combination of a lot of things," Stoops said, "but it's too many sacks in a game."

Oddly, Arizona's speedier quarterback, Scott, is more sack-prone than Foles. Scott was taken down five times Saturday, bringing his season total to six. Foles, who has attempted 155 more passes than Scott this season, has been sacked 11 times.

Senior tackle Adam Grant said the line takes great pride in protecting its quarterbacks.

"When Nick got hurt, that was like a knife in the heart," he said.

Stoops says hit that injured Foles was not dirty

Stoops said the hit that knocked Foles out of the game was "probably unnecessary" but insisted that it was not a dirty hit.

Washington State defensive end Travis Long tripped and fell into Foles just after he completed a pass to Travis Cobb with about 14 minutes remaining in the first half. Foles' kneecap buckled, then dislocated. He's expected to miss the next two or three games.

"I was spinning, and I got tripped up and kinda rolled into him," Long said.

Stoops said he would be in favor of a "no-hit" rule similar to the one in the pros. NFL players are prohibited from hitting quarterbacks in the act of passing because they're considered defenseless.

"That's why they don't let people roll into NFL quarterbacks," Stoops said. "Travis didn't mean to do that, I know that. (Quarterbacks) are just vulnerable. A lot of people complain about it, but they're very vulnerable when they're out there throwing."

Shaq a slam dunk for conference honors

Arizona cornerback Shaquille Richardson was named the Pac-10's defensive player of the week on Monday, two days after intercepting a pair of passes over WSU.

The award is the first for Richardson, a freshman from Carson, Calif., who made his first college start against the Cougars.

Richardson intercepted WSU quarterback Jeff Tuel in the first quarter, ending a Cougars drive that started with a successful onside kick. He put the game away in the fourth, picking Tuel in the end zone with the Wildcats ahead by 17 points.

Along the way, Richardson may have started a cornerback controversy.

Trevin Wade, who started the Wildcats' first five games, is expected to return this week after missing most of the last two games with a thigh bruise.

Monday, Stoops hesitated to name a starter.

"Shaq's made himself a viable option for us," he said. "Competition is good for your football team. We're going to play the best players that give us the best chance of winning."

Injury update

Wade and defensive tackle Justin Washington (sprained knee) should both be cleared for this week's game, Stoops said. The same can't be said for wide receiver Richard Morrison, who is out for at least the next two weeks with a shoulder injury.

"That's disappointing," Stoops said. "He was coming into his own as a player."

Wideout Juron Criner missed most of the second half against Washington State with stiffness in his injured toe. Criner missed time earlier this season with turf toe.

"We anticipate him practicing all week," Stoops said.

Extra points

• Running back Keola Antolin could receive an even larger percentage of snaps this weekend, co-offensive coordinator Seth Littrell said. Antolin gained a game-high 91 yards on 21 carries in Saturday's win over Washington; Nicolas Grigsby, the UA's presumptive starter, had just 14 carries.

"Nic does some good things," Littrell said, "but Keola's putting himself in a position where we need to get him the ball a little bit more."

• Foles' injury has shuffled the Wildcats' depth chart. Scott is listed as the starter, with junior Bryson Beirne as the Cats' backup. True freshman Cameron Allerheiligen will serve as the emergency quarterback until Foles returns.

"I don't know what he can run," quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo said of Allerheiligen. "He's never taken one rep."

• The UA's Oct. 30 game at UCLA will start at 12:30 p.m. and be shown on Fox Sports Arizona, the Pac-10 announced.

Foles back in Texas to access knee

Nick Foles returned to his hometown of Austin, Texas, for a second opinion on the knee injury he suffered in Saturday's 24-7 win over Washington State.

"He's letting someone look at his knee," coach Mike Stoops said Monday at his weekly news conference. "He'll keep in touch, but he's optimistic. Nick will come back stronger than ever, and he'll come back as quick as he can."

Foles dislocated his right kneecap in the second quarter of Saturday's game. He's expected to miss at least two weeks.

"It looks like he's going to mend well," Stoops said. "Hopefully he mends quickly and can get back on the field."

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Pac-12 South football standings

Team W L T PCT
Arizona 5 1 0 0.833
Utah 5 1 0 0.833
USC 5 2 0 0.714
ASU 5 1 0 0.833
UCLA 5 2 0 0.714
Colorado 3 4 0 0.429

Pac-12 North football standings

Team W L T PCT
Oregon 6 1 0 0.857
Oregon State 4 2 0 0.667
Stanford 4 3 0 0.571
Washington 5 2 0 0.714
Cal 4 3 0 0.571
Washington State 2 5 0 0.286
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